Vote for CCU's own Elise Testone on 'American Idol'by Mona Prufer
Elise Testone, Coastal Carolina University alumna (2005), is competing on Fox TV's Season 11 of "American Idol." She made her TV debut on the season opener, singing Janis Joplin's "Get It While You Can."
And she is apparently doing well, if you can believe the online spoilers. The most recent post has her in the singing contest's top 24 and one of the top 12 girls. She performed the "Idol" audition in Savannah, shown in a video here.
AmericanIdolnet.com, a "spoiler site," released a list of contestants who have survived the celebrity cuts, and Testone's name was on it.
The Charleston City Paper described Testone's appearance on the popular TV show as a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it," but she won a ticket to Hollywood based on her a capella performance in front of the judges.
Testone grew up in New Jersey. After graduating from CCU, she moved to Charleston in 2006 and started performing around town with a variety of rock, pop, funk and blues musicians. She is currently performing with the Freeloaders around the city.
She was on campus at the end of January with a video camera, filming her favorite spots and interviewing her favorite people such as David Bankston, who was her voice coach for three years and has high hopes for her.
Voice professor Patti Edwards coached Testone her last year at CCU for her required classical recital.
"It's a great chance for her," said Edwards. "She's been working very hard and has a big following. I hope she does make it to the top and that she tells everyone she came from Coastal Carolina."
Diane Fabiano, a good friend of Elise's who graduated with her in musical theatre, said she went with Testone to the "Idol" audition in Charleston, which was her second tryout for the show. (A previous audtion was unsuccessful.)
"She is a true musician trying to make it with her music," said Fabiano, who works in CCU's alumni relations office. "She teaches music, she does her gigs, she's actually making a living with her music, which is very hard to do."
Fabiano said Testone plays drums, piano, guitar and tambourines "like no one else I've ever heard" and writes her own songs.
"Now is her moment, and she deserves it," said Fabiano. "She's worked harder than anyone else I know. I hope a lot of people vote for her!
Nelljean Rice, dean of University College, said Elise visited her during her brief trip here last month. Testone was close to Nelljean's husband, the late Paul Rice, who died in 2004. "Elise would come over almost every day, and Paul would play [guitar], and Elise would sing. They did a lot of original work together," says Rice. "It was wonderful to hear that music."